Here’s a prospect post that even a redraft leaguer can love. At Razzball there are a lot of great tools, but the one I use the most when looking at potential trades or player acquisitions is the player rater. It’s basically a way to evaluate players based on Steamer’s projections for the rest of the year. What makes it particularly useful is the fact that it’s also updated daily by Rudy to account for playing time changes, lineup changes, injuries, etc. I thought it would be fun to look at how our rookies are faring in the machine. I found 54 players in the rater who were under the 130 AB/50 IP cutoff to start the year. Then I sorted into three subcategories for the hell of it. I’m sure I’ve forgotten a couple of names (hopefully no big ones) and there’s probably nothing incredibly enlightening to glean from this (Correa is good at baseball and projects to be good at baseball in the second half…thanks Mike!). But…there were some surprises for me when I gathered it together. At any rate, hopefully it spurs some discussion and provides a snapshot for the massive wave of quality prospects we’re seeing reach the majors in 2015.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The election for the Sons of Sam Horn government would be an ever-evolving oligarchy. David Ortiz (1-for-3) would be the honorary Papi emeritus, Dustin Pedroia would be the Secretary of Sparky Anklebiters, Alejandro De Aza (2-for-4, 1 run, 3 RBIs) would be a stunt double in case of an assassination attempt, Pablo Sandoval (2-for-4, 2 runs) would be the ambassador to the International House of Pancakes, Wade Miley (6 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 7 baserunners, 8 Ks, ERA at 4.88) would be in charge of the Armed Farces and the election for president would be a popularity contest between Brock Holt (4-for-5, 2 runs, 2 RBIs and his 2nd homer, hitting .309) and Mookie Betts (3-for-5, 2 runs, 1 RBI) after Jackie Bradley Jr. was told to take a walk. For a half season last year, Holt hit .327 with three homers and six steals. So, he’s done this over an extended period of time before, and yesterday was the first day the Red Sox really have looked themselves all year, so I highly doubt Holt will fall much lower than the two hole in the lineup any time soon. If he’s available in your league, I’d definitely grab him. Brock Holt! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, Evan Gattis went 2-for-4, 3 runs, 4 RBIs with his 5th and 6th homers, while hitting four homers in the last three days. After the game, Gattis likened this streak to the five red lights in a row where the first car to stop had broken windshield wipers and Gattis had a squeegee. Adding, “Right now, I’m swinging the squeegee as good as ever. There was one guy, Non-Tall Paul, who claimed to get a six-red-light streak back in ’98. Non-Tall Paul reminds me of Altuve, actually. Size-wise. Not smell-wise. He smelled of grapes. Very, very rancid grapes.” Okay, Gattis! This weekend Gattis reminds us how ridiculous it was that people wanted to drop him in the first week-plus when he was striking out like Non-Tall Paul at a plus-sized model runway show. I think someone even asked me in the first two weeks if I had revised projections for Gattis. Guys and five girl readers (we have a new one! Hey, lady!), the season isn’t even a month old yet. You need to trust your players. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (6) | 2013 (14) | 2012 (8) | 2011 (8) | 2010 (20)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [77-85] NL West
AAA: [72-72] Pacific Coast League – Tucson
AA: [68-72] Texas League – San Antonio
A+: [75-65] California League – Lake Elsinore
A: [63-76] Midwest League – Fort Wayne
A(ss): [30-46] Northwest League – Eugene (2015: Tri-City)

Graduated Prospects
Jesse Hahn, RHP (traded to OAK)

The Gist
New general manager A.J. Preller wasted no time turning the league’s worst offense into the land of 1,000 outfielders this offseason. At the price of a few good prospects, Upton, Myers, and Kemp make up the new Padres starting outfield. Trea Turner, last year’s first round pick, is in a unique situation in that he’s technically been traded to the Nationals but will remain in the Padres’ minor league system until June. He ended up in top ten list limbo, but you can find some notes on him in the NL East roundup. Yangervis Solarte is projected to lead off and play third for San Diego, but both Will Middlebrooks and Cory Spangenberg could see time there this year. Keep them on the radar for NL-only leagues or deeper mixed formats. Spangenberg is technically still a prospect and as a utility infielder could also spell Gyorko at second base.

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Welcome to the All-Star break gang – the unofficial beginning of the second half signals the time to reorganize, revamp, and re-think approaches for us, as well as the folks making the calls for your favorite MLB teams. And, coincidentally, it also marks the time for me to revisit my Prospect Rankings. These are the current top-50 guys on my board that haven’t accumulated the standard minimum 130 AB/50 IP at the MLB level that most fantasy leagues recognize. When compiling my rankings, I try to consider as many variables as possible, but my main focus tilts toward future “difference-makers”… those guys that have the potential to make significant impacts when they reach “The Show”. Some players you’ll find on this list may be further away from making that impact than others, some may be struggling a bit right now (they may have been recently promoted to the next level to challenge them and are adjusting to stiffer competition), some may be on the shelf because of injury, etc., but this list represents the top-50 players I’d pick if you give me the first 50 picks in the MiLB phase of a draft in a newly forming fantasy league. These are the prospects GMs “dream on”, regardless of their current minor league level – the players they plan to build their rosters around at some point in the near future.

So here we go…

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I’m in three dynasty leagues that I impulsively attend to. I’m all about the win-now, so I’ll trade my top prospects for immediate impact. In all three of these leagues, I was looking to displace an empty prospect slot, and with my MLB catchers lacking value…

The following catchers were already owned in at least 2/3rd’s of those leagues: Austin Hedges, Jorge Alfaro, Gary Sanchez, Blake Swihart (be me, in one league), Christian Bethancourt and Reese McGuireTom Murphy (probably because of his eventual stomping ground, Colorado) and Stryker Trahan are also owned in at least one of the leagues.

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Good God, Joey Gallo is on fire right now. He’s been on fire pretty much all year, in fact, but right now, in particular, he’s a blazing inferno of glorious power. Gallo homered 3 times on Friday, and once more on Saturday, giving him 8 in his last 10 games, and 18 on the season. He’s batting .340/.453/.792, and he’s even tossed in 4 stolen bags. His K% is 12 points lower than last year’s, his BB% is 5 points higher, and he’s even grown two inches taller since last summer. OK, I’m lying about the growth thing, but the other parts are true. Gallo, age 20, appears ready for upper levels baseball. There’s little left for him to prove in A-ball, and I can’t imagine it’ll be too long before he’s promoted. I’m anxious to see how his improved approach adapts to the advanced arms he’ll see at Double-A. Until then, enjoy the show.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (14) | 2012 (8) | 2011 (8) | 2010 (20) | 2009 (29)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [76-86] NL West
AAA: [77-67] Pacific Coast League – Tucson
AA: [78-61] Texas League – San Antonio
A+: [61-79] California League – Lake Elsinore
A: [72-67] Midwest League – Fort Wayne
A(ss):  [27-49] Northwest League — Eugene

Graduated Prospects
Jedd Gyorko (2B/3B); Robbie Erlin (LHP); Nick Vincent (RHP)

The Run Down
When gauging this Padres farm from a fantasy perspective, the ballpark factor cannot be ignored.  Virtually any arm in contention for regular starts at Petco is an arm that carries great fantasy potential — all of the pitchers here have a chance to outperform their tools thanks to the cavernous confines of their park.  Conversely, the upsides of the hitters in this org are limited for the same reason.  All that said, there are exciting pieces in this San Diego org on both sides of the fantasy game.  This Padres system has plenty of depth, as usual, and there’s some high-end talent sprinkled in too.  Quietly, San Diego has been one of the more impactful organizations with regard to the fantasy game.  That trend should continue into the foreseeable future.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have the best record in baseball. At least right now, as I’m typing this, they do. The Bucs are an exciting big league club composed with a seemingly perfect balance of youthful talent and veteran savvy, and they have a legitimate chance at a pennant this year. But if we’re looking ahead to 2014, 2015, and beyond, Pittsburgh has a chance to be frighteningly good. Their system has already graduated top-shelf prospects like Starling Marte and Gerrit Cole, and there’s plenty more on the way. Gregory Polanco — currently at Double-A — is one of the brightest outfield prospects in the game, ranked #10 on my Mid-Season Top 50 Fantasy Baseball Prospects list. One spot ahead of Polanco on that list is the 6-foot-6 RHP, Jameson Taillon. Taillon’s projectable frame and elite stuff have him profiling as a top-of-the-rotation arm, and there are plenty folks around baseball who like his upside just as much as Gerrit Cole’s. The 21-year-old has showed some inconsistency this season at Double-A Altoona (3.67 ERA, 1.34 WHIP), but the Pirates, holding to their development plan, have promoted him to Triple-A. He looks to be exactly one year behind Cole, so it’s safe to assume we’ll be seeing Taillon with the big club next summer.

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When you’re perusing the latest prospect lists for the next fantasy star, the next Mike Trout or Manny Machado, it’s important to keep in mind the variables that go into such rankings. Defensive ability plays a major role in player evaluation — it’s not all about the hit tool and the power potential. And when it comes to guys who play premium positions on the diamond (catcher, center field, shortstop), a plus defensive projection can vault a prospect far, far up the board. This sort of inflation based on defense oftentimes skews perspective when considering prospects from a fantasy perspective. When we constantly see a certain light-hitting shortstop pop up in the top 20 overall prospects at Baseball America or MLB.com, it can be easy to look past the scouting report and simply click “add player” once he surfaces in the bigs. To help avoid such unnecessary blunders, I’ve detailed a couple of the more highly-touted defense-first prospects below. I’ll go over a couple more next time through.

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